Win Win (2011) – Thomas McCarthy

Win Win pulls the wool over your eyes for a little while and then gives away the ghost in the last 15 minutes or so. But while it lasts it’s very engaging, endearing and quite funny. Unfortunately, it sets up a situation, abandons it, returns to it only when the plot requires it and then lets any tension it might have built dissolve away in a almost deus ex machina ending. Fine performances by Paul Giamotti as an uninspired lawyer whose passion is coaching wrestling and from the talented supporting cast including Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor and Burt Young. Special consideration to Alex Schafer as the orphaned kid who comes into Giamotti’s life and, wouldn’t you know it, is a great wrestler. I’m willing to buy into the unbelievable coincidence of all that but when the unavoidable custody battle ensues it brought up the same question I always have in movies like this, what would happen if the kid, like the rest of us, was only a marginal athlete?

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